What is distinctly Romantic about Manfred? How does Byron embrace Romantic ideals, and how does he work against them?

The distinctly Romantic elements of Manfred include the alienated hero who struggles against society and the theme of Nature as virtuous and superior to civilization. Byron’s embrace of Romantic ideals is shown through the quest of the protagonist and title character for self-knowledge while secluded in the Alps. One way that Byron works against those ideals is by ending with the failure of the hero’s quest. Manfred ends his own life by suicide.

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Manfredincorporates numerous distinctly Romantic elements. Lord Byron ’s poem can be analyzed as Romantic by considering its hero and title character. Manfred is deeply introspective and alienated from society in physical, intellectual, and emotional terms. This type of hero is often referred to as Byronic. Another heavily Romantic feature...

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Manfred incorporates numerous distinctly Romantic elements. Lord Byron’s poem can be analyzed as Romantic by considering its hero and title character. Manfred is deeply introspective and alienated from society in physical, intellectual, and emotional terms. This type of hero is often referred to as Byronic. Another heavily Romantic feature is the emphasis on the positive qualities of Nature. Civilization is tainted by the negative consequences of human efforts, while the natural environment is associated with virtue—but also with a lost purity that cannot be retrieved.

In his quest for self-knowledge, Manfred seeks insights from spirits of the natural elements such as air and fire, but their advice does not satisfy him. He then opts for direct confrontation with Nature. Alone on a high cliff in the Alps, Manfred becomes fearful when Nature does not seem to provide answers or solace. Byron introduces a human representative of Nature, a shepherd, whose kindness brings Manfred back from the edge of despair.

While Romantic works often feature the hero’s death, it usually is caused by civilization or another human. Byron departs from Romantic conventions by having Manfred end his own life, which would have been seen in the author’s era as negating the character’s heroic qualities.

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